High quality mechanical pencil

1. Apr 1, 2012

dipole

I recently have made the switch to mechanical pencils from old fashioned ones. I have to say I'm really enjoying them and my handwriting has improved (I used to write very hard and dark).

I find that I really enjoy this particular kind:

https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Mate-Sharpwriter-Mechanical-3030131/dp/B00006IEE4

because I like the "twist to advance" mechanism, which also makes the lead break far less easily. I figure since I spend a good 20-30 hours a week writing on paper, I should just invest in a high-quality refillable mechanical pencil (I am aware its possible to refill the sharpwriters). I want one that is similar in design to the above ones, with a head that you twist to advance or retract the lead.

Any recommendations? I probably don't want to spend more than $20 on a pencil. Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017 2. Apr 1, 2012 Evo Staff: Mentor I won't use anything but a mechanicl pencil, and I've used some very expensive ones over the years. I can't the say the expensive ones were that much better for writing. Is your use mostly for writing as opposed to drafting? Maybe someone here will have found some great ones. Last edited: Apr 1, 2012 3. Apr 1, 2012 Dr Transport Always us this, have had it for years and refuse to use another....0.9 mm lead http://www.pentel.com/store/sharp-mechanical-drafting-pencil-3 [Broken] Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017 4. Apr 1, 2012 dipole Yea it's mainly just for writing. I just think it'd be nice to have a good quality one, I don't expect it to actually be more functional. Plus it feels bad throwing away plastic pencils when they're empty, a non-disposable pencil will feel nicer to own. 5. Apr 1, 2012 DaveC426913 I'd love to use a quality mechanical pencil. But I easily misplace things, especially writing implements. So I have to buy in bulk. I buy Bic pencils by the dozen. 6. Apr 1, 2012 rktpro I like the simple 0.5mm lead type mechanical pencils. 7. Apr 1, 2012 lisab Staff Emeritus Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017 8. Apr 1, 2012 QuarkCharmer Dipole, those pencils are the cats meow. I use them exclusively. I hate the clicky kind that don't let you adjust the lead length exactly. Instead you have to click, then hold, then press the lead in, then release and hope the thing doesn't suck the lead back up! I haven't found anything better than those things. Plus they cost like 2 dollars for 10 at my local grocery store. The papermate logo is way expensive. I was burning through the yellow ones because I would toss it when the eraser was gone, but then switched to using a real eraser, external to the pencil, and it works great. 9. Apr 1, 2012 intwo I only use these. I use them so much (and carry one with me at all times) that I go through 3 or 4 a year. I have been considering buying a stronger pencil, but I haven't convinced myself that paying$30+ for one pencil is a reasonable investment.

10. Apr 1, 2012

turbo

I have quite a number of mechanical pencils, but my all-time favorite is a Caran D'Ache Fixpencil 2. It is always lying on the top of my desk and gets used in preference to markers, pens, etc. It is very old-school, but it is a wonderful instrument. It was the preferred pencil for sketching at the eyepiece when observing with a telescope. The larger lead (vs other mechanical pencils) didn't snag or poke through the paper when the paper got a bit soft during the night, and it's a whole lot easier to shade sketches vs smaller leads.

11. Apr 1, 2012

QuarkCharmer

What does that rotating thing on there do? The thing that selects from B HB etc? How does the lead advance? Does the lead come out in an analog fashion, or is it a sort of quantized click?

12. Apr 2, 2012

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
I used to use a Scripto P950 (0.5 mm). I should have bought several, but at the time, I bought one. The one I had finally broke.

Apparently Scripto doesn't make them (or other pencil products) anymore.
http://www.roger-russell.com/scripto2.htm

Prefer the clutch/click motion to rotating the tip to advance the lead. I use HB.

I now I use a Pentel Sharp™ Mechanical Drafting Pencil.
http://www.pentel.com/store/sharp-mechanical-drafting-pencil-3 [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
13. Apr 2, 2012

Jimmy Snyder

I have been using the same Staples mechanical pencil for years now. I bought a package of them so long ago that I can't remember. Whenever I used up the leads, I would take the leads out of a new one and fill the reservoir of the old pencil with them. However, at some also unremembered time in the past I bought a package of 24 Bic mechanical pencils. Enough for a couple of lifetimes. Just the other day I went to fill up my old Staples pencil again only to find that I had used up all of them and had none left. I went to replace the leads from the new Bics, only to find out that my old pencils were .7mm and the new ones are .5mm. I made a few marks with a new one to make sure I could withstand the change and found that I couldn't tell the difference. I don't know why I bought these Bic's though. It would have made a lot more sense to buy the leads.

14. Apr 2, 2012

Here's my test:

If the pencil pushes the lead out in such a way that when the lead is too short and one more click makes it too long, then the pencil is crap.

I'm using a $20 engineering mechanical pencil that I've had for about 3 years because I can get the lead to just the right length; not too short and not too long. It's also heavy so I don't have to press as hard on the paper. 15. Apr 2, 2012 SHISHKABOB mechanical pencils always turned me off because of their "high maintenance" I'll stick with pens 16. Apr 2, 2012 zoobyshoe With the "clicker" depressed, you can push the lead back in to where ever you want it. I just click them out past where I want them, then depress the clicker and push them back. 17. Apr 2, 2012 Dembadon Having to do that every time you need more lead doesn't annoy the hell out of you? What if you accidentally push it in too far? You have to do it all over again. It drives me nuts; I simply refuse to deal with such pencils! :grumpy: This is something about which I'm unusually passionate. I can't explain why I get so aggravated over pencils, but I've had quite a few heated debates on this very subject with some of my classmates. 18. Apr 2, 2012 turbo Zooby, I highly recommend that you get a Caran D-Ache Fixpencil 2 with relatively soft lead. Given your skills at sketching and your need for a pencil that excels at shading, I'm certain that you will be happy. Fixpencils are decidedly low-tech and durable and can be had for around$20 or so if you shop around. I love mine! If it were lost or stolen, I'd get another. No chance it will break - they are too simple and tough.

19. Apr 2, 2012

zoobyshoe

I already have a large number of clutch pencils, the kind draftsmen used to use, with a large variety of leads. I pick these up at the swap meet for a song, and have more than I actually use. The leads are 2mm. The great thing about these is the lead pointers: you can sharpen a clutch pencil sharper than any other kind. The drawback is they don't make leads for them softer than 5B, and those are hard to find. I have to resort to conventional art pencils for the 5B to 9B range of values.

20. Apr 2, 2012

turbo

I see. And yes, having a sharpener under the cap is a BIG plus. You can get one very fine point on a high-quality lead for fine work. I figured that you carried around sets of art pencils to do your art-work. You've already been there, done that with the clutch pencils. I've had mine for ~30 years. An advertising give-away from Proceq SA - manufacturer of non-destructive material testing equipment.